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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on October 17th, 2017

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: October 17, 2017

Sleep Technologist Advice

While You Were Sleeping: What Sleep Technologists Need to Know This Week

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Your media watchdog for headlines and trends
relevant to sleep technology and patient education.


Targeted cognitive-behavioral therapy alleviates insomnia, depressive symptoms in midlife women
October 13, 2017 

From the article:Women participating in a cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention aimed at reducing menopausal hot flashes and insomnia reported improved sleep and a decline in severity of depressive symptoms, according to findings from two studies presented at the Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society.

Takeaway:  Womens health continues to receive more focus in research. This finding is huge for the millions of menopausal women who are suffering from insomnia and sleep fragmentation caused by this major hormonal shift. If you see a lot of women between the ages of 40 and 60, it would be helpful to share with them these research tidbits. Granted, many have or will develop sleep apnea, which could be credited for such sleep loss problems, but these could also be directly related to hormone changes.


You asked SHC… about coffee naps
October 14, 2017 

From the blog:Coffee naps are best applied during periods of travel or in conjunction with expected jetlag. They are also known to be rejuvenating for shift workers who have a limited time between 'doubles' or while on breaks to sneak in some Zzz.

Takeaway: I know a couple of sleep techs who have a rather lengthy drive home from work in the morning and take these in a spare room before they leave the lab (usually a hospital-based one) to ensure they are more alert to drive home. Then they hit the hay at home and actually sleep fine (the circadian sleep drive is a powerful thing). It's worth a shot if you feel you are at risk for drowsy driving during a long commute home from work.

Disclaimer:  The curator of "While You Were Sleeping" is the author of this blog post and curator of SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com.


Dr. Barry Krakow’s Review of Totally CPAP – Part 3
October 10, 2017

From the blog: “In chapter 4, Dr. Park returns his discussion to one of my favorite topics in managing CPAP patients, and he sums it up quite nicely and in bold no less: It’s your mindset. 

Takeaway: In case you have been reading this series, don't miss this third installation!


Why Pregnant Women Are Being Urged Not To Sleep On Their Back In The Third Trimester
October 13, 2017

From the blog: Pregnant women have been advised to sleep on their sides in the last trimester of pregnancy. Researchers from the University of Auckland have found that foetuses’ hearts were less active when women slept facing upwards as opposed to on their sides. …[T]he small-scale study, published in the Journal of Physiology, is the first to monitor unborn babies overnight and at the same time, record the mother’s position during sleep.  Lead author Professor Peter Stone said: 'We are suggesting that there is now sufficient evidence to recommend mothers avoid sleeping on their back in late pregnancy.' ”

Takeaway: More evidence of women's health taking the stage in research efforts. Also useful to know in the sleep lab, especially if you see a pregnant patient in their third trimester.


Innovative Sleep Mask Uses Light Technology to Send You to Sleep
October 14, 2017

From the article: “The easy-to-use device puts users to sleep with a dulling red light. It then gently wakes up users with a glowing blue light. Why red and blue lights? The Sound Oasis team collaborated with NASA sleep experts to replicate similar technology that the astronauts use to maintain their circadian rhythms. Other research likens the blue to a sunrise and red tones to a gradual sunset. 

Takeaway: The trend toward technology borrowing from the latest ideas and research around circadian rhythms and light therapy continues.


The problem with prescribing sleeping pills for older patients
October 11, 2017

From the article: “It seems that everyone has advice about sleep these days, and we have become immune to it.

Takeaway: While it's definitely not in our job description to prescribe or dispense anything for our patients, it behooves us to look at the medications our patients are already using, as well as those they are requesting (and yes, they ask sleep techs for drugs, too). From this, we can generate a "script" to share during hookup or unplug that involves a renewed discussion about sleep hygiene and the risks of using sleeping pills, especially for our senior citizen patients. We can also indicate demands and requests in our tech notes to let our sleep physicians see what's coming down the pike. 


New NIH grant Will Study Alcohol’s Effects on the Nervous System
October 11, 2017

From the article: “The researchers hypothesize that consuming too much alcohol in the evening leads to overactive neural and cardiovascular activity overnight and the subsequent morning—the times of day when humans are most susceptible to heart attacks and strokes.

Takeaway: This will be an interesting study to watch, as alcohol use is one of the greatest hindrances to good sleep while also being one of the chief substances people use to fall asleep. There's a lot more discussion these days about alcohol consumption and its impact on overall health in the healthcare and medical interwebs.


Was the Death of Erik Nelson of Preventable?
October 10, 2017

From the article: According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's article, “Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Bozeman surgeon,” Erik Nelson underwent surgery to correct his chronic nasal obstruction and severe obstructive sleep apnea. Discharged the day after surgery, Mr, Nelson was sent home with a prescription of Oxycodone to manage his pain. …Mr. Nelson took his prescription for Oxycodone the evening of his discharge and the following morning. As reported by the Chronicle, he 'was found unconscious in his home by his partner. He was transported to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The cause of death was respiratory failure in combination with postoperative swelling, according to the suit.'”

Takeaway: Here's a rare sleep-related sentinel event to be aware of… we may be seeing more of these events in the future if the opiate crisis isn't averted soon and surgeons aren't kept up to speed on the impact of these respiratory depressants when they send their patients home to heal.

BIO:  Tamara Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily. She is also Web Consultant for the American Sleep Apnea Association, writes MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and other places.

The 2017 Fall Course, Current Technology Trends in Sleep Medicine, will be held at the Louisville Marriott East in Louisville, KY, from October 13 - 14, 2017. Will you be there?

2017 Fall Course